Sonos Playbar: How to Make it Sound Better

Without a doubt the Sonos Playbar sounds better with added surround speakers (and subwoofer) that it does solo. But the Playbar is still hobbled by a design limitation it shares with most other soundbars. Unless you are the rare person who uses your HDTV to receive off-air digital television with a real antenna receiving signals from through the air, you are most likely feeding dumbed-down 2-channel audio from all your sources to your shiny new Playbar.  Continue reading

Sonos Playbar: Good News and Bad News

The good news is that the Sonos Playbar, on the market for several years now, is a superbly finished and packaged TV soundbar product. Set up is pretty easy, compatibility with your TV’s remote is straightforward, and its simple connectivity will make it an easy hookup with the majority of TVs. It’s easy for a Sonos fan to recommend to a friend who asks about soundbars, as long as that friend is upgrading from the TV’s own speakers. 

The bad news is that the Sonos Playbar is a mediocre Continue reading

You Need This Product In Your Workplace!

One of the products I worked on at Cambridge Sound Management is a truly excellent workplace privacy problem solver called the Qt Conference Room Edition. Read on…

(co-published on the CSM blog)

Your business is serious business. You emphasize imagination and innovation and creativity, and your ideas have enormous value. Continue reading

KEF M500 Headphone Review

KEF’s M500 headphones are the mellowest product I’ve ever put on my head, short of the floppy hat I wear skiing. If you listen to real music played through real devices, meaning CD and MP3 quality sound played from iPhone or equivalent, these will be a good match. By real music, I mean recordings that might not be the first you would think of as test or demonstration music – music that is not perfectly recorded. Follow me on my musical exploration from streamed MP3s to CD to Blu-Ray Continue reading

Battery-Powered Sonos

Sonos gets beaten up because it lacks a battery-powered product.  Well known for its focus and a conservative product line-up, Sonos requires you to take a plugged-in extension cord wherever you want to enjoy the system – such as on your deck or by your back-yard pool.  My own experiments with battery-powering a PLAY:1 give insight on why Sonos is stubborn, besides just their determined desire to own the domestic space (rather than audio in the car, or on the beach for that matter). Continue reading

CES 2014 Impressions – ClearView Audio

Just returning from CES 2014 in Las Vegas, I contemplated what made the biggest impression on me.  It’s not 4K “UltraHD” TVs, this year with curved screens.  It’s not the “Sonos killers.”  I’m hard to impress, having gone to this show for years.  The product that struck me the most was relatively simple – the ClearView Audio Clio Bluetooth wireless speaker with a clear panel producing the sound.  The fact that the product came from renamed local Boston company Emo Labs was a complete surprise that I discovered later.

ClearView speaker and a Shrubbery

ClearView speaker and a Shrubbery

However, I found myself being more impressed by the quality and extent of press coverage – certainly no accident – than even Continue reading

Why I like the Sonos PLAY:1 … (part 3 – computer speaker system, and THREE-channel stereo!)

In this blog series on the Sonos PLAY:1 I’ve been describing observations and experiences with the product in a variety of configurations, so far concentrating on stereo usage and adding a subwoofer – either Sonos’ own SUB or any sub you want, using my vintage ZonePlayer (similar to the current “CONNECT” or “CONNECT:AMP” products).

Used in its purest form, the PLAY:1 already does a great job in several very different (but more routine) applications.  Most people will just use 1, or maybe 2, of the speakers on a shelf or kitchen counter or nightstand.  Custom installers will find applications for PLAY:1 units around the house, owing to its humidity resistance (important in a bathroom or covered porch), small size, and integral threaded insert on the back (for wall mounting with an Omnimount 10.0 W/C or equivalent).  This time around I want to show two usages a bit more off the beaten path – using the PLAY:1 as a desktop computer speaker and also building a three-channel stereo system. Continue reading